In the same way that bands play a home-coming gig which always sells out, Richard Herring has been playing at Cheddar every year for the past few. This time around, he brought his latest stand up show, 'We're All Going to Die' to the cheery streets of his home... village.
On the basis of the show's title, I was completely prepared for an evening of heavy existential angst punctuated with the laughs I have come to expect from Herring, but the show certainly didn't fall too heavy on the morbid side. In fact, the show did more to make me forget about impending doom than draw attention to it.
A lot of the show focussed on the afterlife, particularly Herring's belief that there isn't one, and he managed to discuss lofty issues like religion, the holocaust, and 9/11 with lightness of touch and more than a bit of crude humour. Herring is able to move between the sublime and the ridiculous with ease, making the audience laugh at some of life's biggest concerns as a way of conquering them. It was also a prime opportunity for him to explore all of the Herring-related pun headlines which could arise from his death, some of the best being 'Herring eaten by shark', and simply 'Dead Herring'.
He seems to be a prolific, hard working comedian, this being his tenth touring stand-up show in as many years. After the main show, we were treated to some new material which Richard was working on for his new web series. A particularly enjoyable dialogue between him and Hamlet ("To be or not to be?" asks Hamlet; "To be!" replies Herring) was flawlessly delivered as well as very funny.
He didn't rely on in-jokes or the fact that we were a favourable crowd. He worked hard and gave a flawless performance which was very well received. Most of all, he emphasised the point that we should live as though we don't have much time left, because one day we won't â€“ and if I only had a few hours left on earth, I'd say I'd be happy to spend at least one of them watching Richard Herring's stand-up. Now that's a recommendation.
Review by Alex Hoskins
Cheddar Arts @ King's Theatre, Cheddar
Thursday, Feb 27 2014